"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, February 8, 2013

Be the Hero of your Own Story

Do you star in your story or have you given over the reigns to someone else? Do you live life according to your gifts and personality, or have you abdicated your throne to others? Are you waiting for other people to recognize your gifts or promote you to the place that you always knew you were meant to be?

Wow, that's a loaded question isn't it? Think about it a moment.....

Is there something deep inside of you that hasn't yet come out? If so, why?

Is it because you don't feel that what you have to offer will matter? Or perhaps you are looking around at all the others that can do it better! This is a HUGE problem on the internet. Our need to compare ourselves to others can get the best of us as we view their lives and accomplishments on their websites and Facebook pages. It's so easy to feel "less than". The problem is too that we see these things in the context of a very superficial, external relationship whereas if we were close to that person in physical proximity or sharing we might see their struggles and not be so tempted to compare ourselves and come up wanting.

Do you have great anxiety when it comes to sharing yourself? Does it matter to you SO VERY MUCH that you can't even really get started? Rest assured, it is very common if not the rule rather than the exception to be afraid to go after your dreams. Our dreams are tied in so closely with our hearts that it feels that if we put ourselves out there and our dreams don't materialize, it will be a pain too great for our hearts to bear. The trouble is that NOT putting ourselves out there is also a great pain to our hearts. If you can't win in either case, I would recommend going for your goals.

Finally, are you waiting for someone else to promote you? We all fall into this trap and I think it is because we are conditioned at a young age in school. We wait for the teacher to recognize our gifts and give us a good grade or an opportunity to express our "song". We look to our peers to see our talents, applaud them and then we have the "guts" to move ahead on the road to fulfillment.

But here is the problem and I know you are all smart enough to know it.... people are more concerned about themselves and THEIR song than they are about yours! We people are as a rule pretty self-centered and insecure and we are thinking more about how we can promote ourselves than others. Sometimes you will find someone pure of heart that has your best interests in mind but not too often. And really what we must think about is... whose job is it to promote us anyway?

I spent a bit of time in a pretty "authoritarian" structured "ministry" (a term which I will use loosely). One of the premises of the organization was that you must come in and serve the leader of the institution. If he decided that you were to be promoted, he would promote you - as God showed him. If you didn't get promoted, you were to lead your life thankfully and humbly. A few people were raised to "superstar" status while most worked on the side lines, with a whole slew of wasted gifts and abilities.

Looking at it from the outside, it's easy to see that he was just trying to "stock" his system. Anyone that was too threatening (with gifts and charismatic charm) needed to be "humbled" so they didn't steal the spotlight from him. It really had nothing to do with God!

I didn't last very long in that system. I was singled out after 9 months and told "I had trouble with authority" and put in my place. (This was their most commonly used phrase because authority to them meant letting them have complete control over your life... all of it and never questioning their abusive actions). What they did was squash my spirit - saying it was God. The worse kind of spiritual abuse! It took me 10 years to recover from that year of my life!

But here is what I see now.... I had the gifts IN ME! I didn't have to go there for them to say "I see these gifts in you". They were already there and I knew it. They didn't give me the gifts - God did (although they did want to take credit for them). The irony is that I was active in leadership before that and then in going there I was forced to take on a role that didn't fit me. God gave me a song that is unique to me and he wants me to sing it! Why should I keep it shut down because I'm thinking other people's songs are more lovely? And why wait for someone else to tell me that I can sing in this choir - I get to merely because I have been given a voice!

So, the $20,000 question today is - what is stopping you from singing YOUR song? Is it lack of value? Is it fear and anxiety? Is it that you are waiting for someone ELSE to promote you or give you permission. Here it is then - I give you permission to sing your song! Let it ring out strong and clear for YOU are beautiful and your song is needed in this land.

Start small if you must - but please start! Today is your day to let that song out! It's good for the soul!

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